EVERETT — About 2,000 Snohomish County employees are to begin receiving pay bumps as recognition for their frontline work during the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, county Executive Dave Somers announced a plan to use $2.5 million of federal relief money for bonus payments of up to $1,250 for the county’s essential workers during the pandemic. In late July, the County Council unanimously approved the criteria to determine which employees will receive the extra pay.
Initial estimates indicated about 1,500 workers — like sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, road crew workers, human services specialists and park rangers — would qualify.
Now, 1,914 county workers are to be eligible for the bonus pay, Executive Director Ken Klein said in an email. The first round of payments will go out on Sept. 22.
The majority of those employees come from law and justice agencies like the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Office of Public Defense, as well as the Public Works and Human Services departments, county spokesperson Kent Patton said.
Starting Sept. 22, eligible employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will receive two payments of $625, spread over two pay periods. FLSA non-exempt employees will receive an extra $8 per hour (or $12 per hour for overtime) for every hour worked, until they reach $1,250.
To qualify, staff must have worked for at least six months between March 23, 2020, and July 5, 2021, with some time spent at the office and in a department that interacted with the public. Both part-time and full-time employees qualify, as long as they worked at least 20 hours per week.
The County Council also set aside another $150,000 to give premium pay to Snohomish Health District staff, though it’s unclear how many qualify.
In total, Snohomish County received about $160 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Premium pay is one of many uses of federal funds that local governments are encouraged to consider.
On Sept. 22, the council is to hold a public hearing for an amendment that stretches the window of time in which staff can receive the bonuses, so qualifying staff on military leave will have an opportunity to earn premium pay.
The amendment applies to “a dozen or so” county staff, Patton said.